Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Haydn Die Jahreszeiten Helmut Rilling/A Stumphius S Stevenson W Schne/ Gchinger Kantorei Bach-Collegium Stuttgart|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Haydn?s masterspiece, The Creation is known to all lovers of classical music, however few people know that he invested two years of hard work into The Seasons until he was satisfied. Although he was getting on in years whe... more »
A production faithful to Haydn
J P Falcon | Fords, New Jersey United States | 12/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Joseph Haydn's The Seasons was always the poor relative when compared to his choral masterpiece, The Creation. This unjust neglect has gradually been rectified, and one can now find many quality recordings of the work. Now, it has been given a DVD release and hopefully will reach a new audience.The Seasons was completed in 1801 and it paves the way for the future of Germanic Romanticism. You will hear how Wagner was influenced by the Spinning Song in his opera The Flying Dutchman. Future echos of Schubert's Winterriese can be heard in Haydn's Winter. His depiction of a thunderstorm rivals anything written by Richard Strauss, and his use of a rustic folk dance will be well served by Gustav Mahler.The performance by Helmut Rilling is very good and can hold it's own to the Archive recording conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. Those who enjoy the rich Romantic approach by Karl Bohm and the Vienna Symphony need not fear, as the smaller forces of orchestra and choir admirably provide the heft when needed. I was however dissapointed in the use of a pianoforte rather than a harpsichord for the recitatives, but this is a minor quibble.Unlike another reviewer, I was not distracted by the direction of the production. The Seasons is a rather long work lasting over two hours. No doubt there was concern that to simply have a camera fixed in Rilling, orchestra, chorus, and the three vocalist, might become a bit tedious to a viewer. Unlike a live concert event, it is not easy to become completely enrapt in a performance when it is on a screen. I think that for those uninitiated with the work, the nature scenes will enhance the experience, while seasoned listeners of The Seasons will not be distracted. I too though, must express my displeasure in the absence of subtitles. This is a very discriptive work which begs for titles. A star was deducted from the rating because of this omission.So,if you wish to discover a rich early romantic choral masterpiece, you will not do much better than The Seasons. Recommended with minor reservations....."
5 Stars for the Performance - 3 Stars for the Production
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 08/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This marvelous performance of Haydn's 'The Seasons,' conducted by Helmut Rilling and his longtime musical partners, the Gächinger Kantorei and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, with soloists Annegeer Stumphius (soprano: Hanne), Alexander Stevenson (tenor: Lukas), and Wolfgang Schöne (basso: Simon) is marred by the overactive imagination of whoever was in charge of the visual aspects of the production. One understands the temptation to illustrate 'the seasons' but the visuals frequently cut away from the musicians to show gauzy, romanticized nature pictures that, while often [too] lovely, become cloying after only a few minutes. The performers are side-lit by different colors for each of the seasons (a sickly green for Spring, yellow for Summer, orange for Autumn, and greyish-silver for Winter); how original! Actually, it's distracting and at times simply ugly (as when the soprano's green-hued hair makes her look like a witch). Further, for us non-German speakers there are no English subtitles for the German text and no libretto supplied in the otherwise glossy program booklet. What a shame. Perhaps they didn't want us to know that Baron von Swieten's text for 'Die Jahreszeiten' is rather clumsy and they thought we'd be better off looking at pretty pictures and writing our own mental libretto.This is a shame because, as I indicated, the performance itself is terrific. The soprano has a lovely silvery tone and she portrays the maiden, Hanne, with suitable innocence. Her stalwart peasant suitor, Lukas, is portrayed with an attractive bronzy tenor and Hanne's papa, Simon, is the well-loved rich-voiced basso, Wolfgang Schöne. Helmut Rilling, whose recording of all of the Bach cantatas with this orchestra and chorus are among my own favorite CDs, conducts a suitably alert and subtle 'Seasons.' Scott Morrison"